4 Things I Learnt As I Turned 29

Stealing this idea from Ryan Holiday – who does a yearly blog like this.

I’ve learnt a lot in the void between 28 and 29, here are the 4 things that stick out the most:

1. Selective Approval

When you’re a kid adults tell you to ‘not care what other people think’. I think it’s true… to an extent.

There are times in life where you should care  – e.g. job interviews, first dates, sales pitches, etc.

But there are other times when you shouldn’t.

I was in the supermarket and I was having a nightmare with the self service machine. There were all sorts of unexpected items in the bagging area and a queue was gradually beginning to form behind me. An impatient one, at that.

(Note: Isn’t it about time they started making psychic self service machines that don’t have a meltdown every time the unexpected happens?)

My card wouldn’t work – so I had to fish around in my wallet for another. Tuts rang out from behind me. Sweat mopped my brow. Then a satsuma fell out of my hand and rolled across the floor.

I could feel dozens of hateful eyes burning down on me.

Luckily I persevered, managed to fit it all in my bag and hurried out.

Do you know how many of those people in that queue I’ve seen since that incident? 0.

And do you know how many times they’ve thought about it since then? 0.

I didn’t need their approval, their opinions didn’t matter. Yet I made myself uncomfortable by seeking it. After this realisation I’ve started to live freely.

Look for the people whose approval does matter. Ignore anyone else. Plus, according to social studies, it’s noted that those who don’t look for approval are often seen as more influential.

2. Fitter body. Fitter mind.

I was never in good shape at school. I was never anywhere near fit until I was in my early 20s and playing football several times a week. A habit that ended due to a snapped ankle.

The weight didn’t pile on right, though. Not until I was 25. It got to a point where I didn’t like my photo being taken and couldn’t bring myself to wear a t-shirt in public. When I look back now it makes me sad as I have very few photos to look back on from that period of my life – my body image was terrible, every mirror told me a different story. I didn’t know what to believe.

But that’s a story for another day, a whole blog in itself.

In November last year a gym opened nearly opposite my flat and I signed up. I trained hard. With the help of my friend I stuck to it and now, nearly a year later, I’m still going. Stronger and happier.

It’s helped with creativity too – positive endorphins from a morning workout set me up for a better day at work. Mind and body in tune.

3. Buy Expensive Jeans

Seriously. If you’re anything like me and you wear jeans a lot, it’s worth paying more for a good brand (if you can).

Very contrary I know, as everyone out there tells you not to be materialistic.

But they fit better, feel better and usually last longer – which helps in the long run, as we know the fast fashion industry isn’t good for the planet.

Also, nice clothes make you feel more confident. There I’ve said it. But, deep down, you know it’s true.

4. Phil Collins is a very good musician

I can’t believe it took me 29 years to realise. Great dry sense of humour, too.

 

 

How different would you life be if you didn’t know how old you were?

It was my birthday on Tuesday –  some of you didn’t wish me happy birthday, but that’s okay I’m over it now! 🎈

Getting older is funny isn’t it? I remember being 16 and meeting someone who was 28 and thinking, wow you must be so mature and together.

Now I’m that age. I assumed there’d be some kind of change, some kind of process where you just morph into a mature adult – like in ‘The Sims.’

But that doesn’t happen. You just have to adapt and make out like you’re all there.

The question I’ll leave you with is this… how different would your life be if you didn’t know how old you were?

An entry into a diary I kept when I was 13

Dear diary, the last time I wrote in you I was a boy,
now I’m a man

I remember when you’d meet a 27 year old,
you’d think they were so big and scary

Big, scary, prepared,
with all their shit together

But, now I’m here, I can tell you that
deep down
I’m still you

Still a little bit lost,
still a little bit ready for adventure
still wide-eyed when exciting things happen

You know those things you worried about?

Zits and bullies and not being as clever as everyone
else?

Well, I’ve got good news,
in the end nothing you’re worrying about right now matters

But, what does matter is the lessons you learnt from them,
they made you feel inadequate yet also resilient

And that feeling of inadequacy will cheer you on to do
better things than you ever thought possible

And that resilience will mean you can roll with the punches,
while others find it hard to get back to their feet

I’m still you, you’re still me,
and wherever we go there we’ll be

The last time I wrote in you I was a boy,
this time I’m a man

Perhaps next time I write I’ll be an old man

With more stories to tell.

‘WHAT IF’ will be the most powerful words in your life so far.

They’ll keep you up many nights, wondering, thinking, planning and creating.

If I can offer you one bit of advice
when it does pay off,
drink in those moments – enjoy them, don’t move right onto the next
thing, and make the most of the people who understand you while they’re there.

That’s all I have to say.

I’m still you, you’re still me.
and wherever we go there we will be

Even though I look at the world with slightly older eyes, I’m still that
boy deep down.
I’m still you.

Everyone else is weird, so don’t worry if you are too.

Once you admit you’re weird
Life gets a bit easier.

You’ll wonder what you ever feared.
‘Cos everyone else is weird.

Your reputation won’t be smeared.
‘Cos everyone else is weird.

Everyone’s foggy mind
is full of things that are weird.

To your fellow weirdos you should be kind.
‘Cos everyone else is weird.

As everyone else goes through the daily grind
they all just want to go home and be weird.

Yep, it’s true, if you really think it through
you’ll find that everyone else is weird too.

by Ashley age 27 & 3/4

Speed awareness

Not too many years ago I had to go on a speed awareness course.

Usually, if anything, I drive a bit too slow.

But, as luck would have it, I was caught doing 34 in a 30.

Yep. It was marginal. But still, I’d gone too fast.

Now, speed awareness courses aren’t known for being fun.

This one lived up to that hype.

But, still, it was only 4 hours and as long as I paid attention and let them get on with it, it would be over quickly – right?

Wrong.

The problem wasn’t me. The problem was the other participants.

You see, I’ll let you into a secret….most people don’t like being wrong.

Even if they are.

And I found myself in a room full of people who didn’t like the fact they’d done something wrong.

Now, the format of these sessions is fairly simple. Two instructors take you through a few powerpoints and you watch some videos.

But, things were a lot slower…because, at every given opportunity, a lot of the participants were coming up with excuses.

Grown men and women coming up with monologues, like school children trying to get out of trouble with the headmaster.

And so, what should have been around four hours, ended up lasting an extra hour and a half.

Once the excuses were done that same majority, annoyed that their excuses fell on deaf ears,  busied themselves by challenging the two instructors at every possible point.

Boy, did that session drag on.

We need to remind ourselves that sometimes we are wrong.

In my day-to-day life, whether it be at work or while being social, I’m wrong. And that’s okay. I’m allowed to be wrong.

On a side note, sometimes I think life needs a speed awareness course…as it moves way too fast.

Although, on a serious note, don’t speed. Get up earlier.

The radio always plays the same songs

If you’ve ever listened to a popular radio station for an extended period of time you’ll know that the same songs are played over and over again.

A lot of people don’t like that.

So that’s why streaming sites such as Spotify have become some popular. Because people want to be able to choose what they listen to, and find an easier way to discover new songs that they’ll like.

It’s the same with TV and Netflix.

We want choice, choice, choice and more choice.

Long gone are the days when the TV listings would decide your night’s entertainment.

But, with choice comes indecision.

It’s the same with dating apps.

A huge chunk of the population swipe through face after face, almost desensitising themselves to the actual people that lie beyond the profile photo and blurb.

When it comes to our lives as a whole now – how is having so much choice affecting our way of thinking?

Relationships, jobs, studies – are we as determined to fight for them when they aren’t going right?

Or, does such a world of opportunities make us not want to try as hard because we live safe in the knowledge that ‘there’s always something else out there’?

Do faraway Instagram images steal us away from anything remotely challenging by convincing us to try and find another version of paradise?

It’s definitely not all bad, of course, but I don’t think it’s all good either.

 

The coffee cup that stopped everyone

I was on the bus travelling home this afternoon.

I climbed to the top deck and chose an empty seat.

I found one that I thought looked good, but as I got closer I noticed that there was a discarded coffee cup on the seat.

So, I did the easy thing – walked past it and chose another seat.

I began to notice that everyone else did the same as me.

That one empty coffee cup stood in everyone’s way and everyone walked past it.

Eventually the top deck of the bus filled up.

Then more people got on.

But instead of moving the cup they either went back downstairs or stood.

Finally, a tall man in a long grey jacket got on the bus.

He walked through the aisle, saw the seat and, with a deft flick of his right hand, moved the coffee cup away.

He sat down and enjoyed the rest of his journey in comfort.

How often in life do we take the easiest way possible?

Are the obstacles that stop our progress as bad as we think they are?